A few months ago, we published charts on spring training attendance in the Tampa Bay area since 2005. Yesterday, the Florida Sports Foundation published attendance figures for the 2014 Grapefruit League season.
Since 2008, there have been four teams training in the Tampa Bay area: the Yankees (Tampa), Blue Jays (Dunedin), Phillies (Clearwater), and Pirates (Bradenton).
The current capacities for each team’s stadium are as follows:
- Steinbrenner Field (Yankees): 11,000
- Bright House Field (Phillies): 8,500
- McKechnie Field (Pirates): 8,500
- Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (Blue Jays): 5,521
New for 2014 were improvements to Bradenton’s McKechnie Field. These improvements included an outfield bleacher and a boardwalk.
Here are updated charts and graphs of Tampa Bay area Spring Training attendance from 2005-2014. From 2005-2008, this chart includes the Tampa Bay Rays, who trained in St. Petersburg before moving to Port Charlotte.
Tampa Bay Area Overall Spring Training Attendance:
In 2014, Spring Training attendance in the Tampa Bay area went up 2.4%. This is below the overall Grapefruit League gain of 4%. The following chart shows the yearly total averages and percentage increase or decrease of all teams spring training in the Tampa Bay area since 2005.
The following graph breaks out individual team per game attendance.
As depicted, only one team in the Tampa Bay area had an increase in Spring Training attendance.
- Pirates: +21.8%
- Blue Jays: -1.16%
- Yankees: -1.9%
- Phillies: -5.98%
Pirates spring training attendance since 2005:
Blue Jays spring training attendance since 2005:
Yankees spring training attendance since 2005:
Phillies spring training attendance since 2005:
Interestingly, like the difference between Tampa Bay spring training and the rest of Florida, there is a geographic difference in attendance in certain areas of the Arizona Cactus League. According to this article by Ronald J. Hansen of the Arizona Republic, the eastern side of the Cactus League draws more than the western side.
According to Cactus League figures, East Valley and Scottsdale teams have averaged 50 percent more fans, an extra 3,000 people per game, over the past eight years.
Hansen attributes this phenomenon to the notion that the teams in the East Valley are more popular than the teams in the West Valley, despite there being more teams in the West than in the East. According to Hansen, the Eastern side contains the popular Cubs, Giants, and hometown Diamondbacks, while the most marquee team in the west is the Dodgers.